web site hit counter Eight Girls Taking Pictures - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Eight Girls Taking Pictures

Availability: Ready to download

From the bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt comes a powerful and sweeping novel inspired by the lives of famous female photographers. Bestselling author Whitney Otto’ s Eight Girls Taking Pictures i s a profoundly moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentiet From the bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt comes a powerful and sweeping novel inspired by the lives of famous female photographers. Bestselling author Whitney Otto’ s Eight Girls Taking Pictures i s a profoundly moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentieth century. This captivating novel opens in 1917 as Cymbeline Kelley surveys the charred remains of her photography studio, destroyed in a fire started by a woman hired to help take care of the house while Cymbeline pursued her photography career. This tension— between wanting and needing to be two places at once; between domestic duty and ambition; between public and private life; between what’s seen and what’s hidden from view—echoes in the stories of the other seven women in the book. Among them: Amadora Allesbury, who creates a world of color and whimsy in an attempt to recapture the joy lost to WWI; Clara Argento, who finds her voice working alongside socialist revolutionaries in Mexico; Lenny Van Pelt, a gorgeous model who feels more comfortable photographing the deserted towns of the French countryside after WWII than she does at a couture fashion shoot; and Miri Marx, who has traveled the world taking pictures, but also loves her quiet life as a wife and mother in her New York apartment. Crisscrossing the world and a century, Eight Girls Taking Pictures is an affecting meditation on the conflicts women face and the choices they make. These memorable characters seek extraordinary lives through their work, yet they also find meaning and reward in the ordinary tasks of motherhood, marriage, and domesticity. Most of all, this novel is a vivid portrait of women in love—in love with men, other women, children, their careers, beauty, and freedom. As she did in her bestselling novel How to Make an American Quilt, Whitney Otto offers a finely woven, textured inquiry into the intersecting lives of women. Eight Girls Taking Pictures is her most ambitious book: a bold, immersive, and unforgettable narrative that shows how the art, loves, and lives of the past influence our present.


Compare

From the bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt comes a powerful and sweeping novel inspired by the lives of famous female photographers. Bestselling author Whitney Otto’ s Eight Girls Taking Pictures i s a profoundly moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentiet From the bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt comes a powerful and sweeping novel inspired by the lives of famous female photographers. Bestselling author Whitney Otto’ s Eight Girls Taking Pictures i s a profoundly moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentieth century. This captivating novel opens in 1917 as Cymbeline Kelley surveys the charred remains of her photography studio, destroyed in a fire started by a woman hired to help take care of the house while Cymbeline pursued her photography career. This tension— between wanting and needing to be two places at once; between domestic duty and ambition; between public and private life; between what’s seen and what’s hidden from view—echoes in the stories of the other seven women in the book. Among them: Amadora Allesbury, who creates a world of color and whimsy in an attempt to recapture the joy lost to WWI; Clara Argento, who finds her voice working alongside socialist revolutionaries in Mexico; Lenny Van Pelt, a gorgeous model who feels more comfortable photographing the deserted towns of the French countryside after WWII than she does at a couture fashion shoot; and Miri Marx, who has traveled the world taking pictures, but also loves her quiet life as a wife and mother in her New York apartment. Crisscrossing the world and a century, Eight Girls Taking Pictures is an affecting meditation on the conflicts women face and the choices they make. These memorable characters seek extraordinary lives through their work, yet they also find meaning and reward in the ordinary tasks of motherhood, marriage, and domesticity. Most of all, this novel is a vivid portrait of women in love—in love with men, other women, children, their careers, beauty, and freedom. As she did in her bestselling novel How to Make an American Quilt, Whitney Otto offers a finely woven, textured inquiry into the intersecting lives of women. Eight Girls Taking Pictures is her most ambitious book: a bold, immersive, and unforgettable narrative that shows how the art, loves, and lives of the past influence our present.

30 review for Eight Girls Taking Pictures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I confess that I shorten unfamiliar proper nouns when I read a book. I didn't try to phonetically read "Naakkve" each time I come across that name in Kristin Lavransdatter - I just accept it as that block of letters and move on. "Anna Karenina" becomes either "Kareninininina" or "Karena" or "Anna K" while I am reading the pages to myself. I blame third grade speed reading drills. There were not a lot of unfamiliar proper nouns that I needed to breeze past in Eight Girls Taking Pictures, but there I confess that I shorten unfamiliar proper nouns when I read a book. I didn't try to phonetically read "Naakkve" each time I come across that name in Kristin Lavransdatter - I just accept it as that block of letters and move on. "Anna Karenina" becomes either "Kareninininina" or "Karena" or "Anna K" while I am reading the pages to myself. I blame third grade speed reading drills. There were not a lot of unfamiliar proper nouns that I needed to breeze past in Eight Girls Taking Pictures, but there were so many women with an interest in photography that were essentially the exact same woman. After meeting girl #3 or #4, I just accepted that all of their names were interchangeable. That made reading the book better somehow. The parts where their paths crossed or photos by multiple "girls" were exhibited and described together didn't feel that awkward and I was spared trying to think of any distinguishable trait. There were simultaneously more than eight women in this book and just one. The author knew her stuff (or I assume she did because I verified nothing) about the history of photography in the 20th century. She has a single point of view on women's suffrage, the struggle between work/parenting, art, relationships (regardless of gender), etc. While every (or the only, if you read like me) character grew up in different parts of the world, they were unfazed by their own sexuality and that of all supporting characters; their father was progressive and thought their daughter equal to men; their family was rich and artistic; the infidelity of the boyfriend/husband/love interest was acceptable; the girl was comfortable in her body (all slim; most were also models; not one was modest); there were no negative feelings at all about their children - no resentment, no regret, no pain, no difficulty... It seems the only reason for having eight girls instead of one was to talk about photography across different time periods without needing to seriously alter age or perspective. There were a couple of moments of really thought provoking writing. It happened in that one chapter about a girl that liked taking photos. I am sorry I cannot be more specific, in this book, all female photographers read alike.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I have really conflicted feelings about this book. I enjoyed it, and yet it wasn't what I wanted or expected. It is broken up into 8 "short stories" about women photographers in history, and it is based on real women but fictionalized. I love historical fiction, but this is not that, and I found it frustrating. I found myself wanting to know, needing to know who the real life woman was and then actually scoffed at the changed names to some of the other historical people -- Tin Type instead of Ma I have really conflicted feelings about this book. I enjoyed it, and yet it wasn't what I wanted or expected. It is broken up into 8 "short stories" about women photographers in history, and it is based on real women but fictionalized. I love historical fiction, but this is not that, and I found it frustrating. I found myself wanting to know, needing to know who the real life woman was and then actually scoffed at the changed names to some of the other historical people -- Tin Type instead of Man Ray, Angel instead of Ansel. It was just kinda weird. Often times the stories felt incomplete and truncated and almost hard to follow, though more often it left a feeling of wanting to know more about what happened. What I did enjoy was reading the stories of women photographers. Their stories were very similar. Most came from a family of means who indulged their daughters creative and independent spirit and study of photography = awesome. All of them also were conflicted with the balance of their art and their relationships with lovers, husbands and children. This is a very real conflict, and yet somehow the telling actually made it so that the different women could be mixed up in the mind, and their stories really did not intertwine. A few references to Cymbeline (the first women we meet) are made throughout, and it comes back to her in the last story -- probably my favorite part. But much of this ends up feeling like a missed connection, or a missed opprotunity to be an even better book. I think because this hits so close to home, I am more critical than I would otherwise be. I know of Imogene Cunningham, Tini Modotti and Sally Mann, but knew next to nothing about Madame Yevonde and Ruth Orkin, and I can't for the life of me understand why I'm not well versed in Lee Miller. Reading this book has made me rediscover my interested in 20th century women photographers and it has made me go to the library and seek out biographies about Lee Miller and Tina Modotti to get to know more about them, and I think that Whitney Otto would be happy with that outcome. I wanted so much more from this book, and even though it didn't quite give me what I wanted and I am not in love with it, I still got something that I needed and in a complicated and conflicted way I am happy with that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Whitney Otto has done her homework. Not only does she beautifully capture the history of photography, the details of the art, and the social contexts of her eight ‘girls’ over time, she has provided a thoughtful meditation on the role of women in history as well as the role women play in their own lives. While the struggles remain constant in scope, each of Otto’s photographers approaches her conflicts in a different way, creating a kind of literary canvas for the intersections between life, lov Whitney Otto has done her homework. Not only does she beautifully capture the history of photography, the details of the art, and the social contexts of her eight ‘girls’ over time, she has provided a thoughtful meditation on the role of women in history as well as the role women play in their own lives. While the struggles remain constant in scope, each of Otto’s photographers approaches her conflicts in a different way, creating a kind of literary canvas for the intersections between life, love, and art. Even Otto’s approach to the novel as a literary form pulls us out of our complacencies and allows the reader to interact with each character as something other than ‘representative’ of the feminist quest and more as an individual who is both victim and agent in her own time. It makes perfect sense that Otto would want to write a book about cameras and the women behind them. Her book reads like that rare photo with so many complicated details, so much challenge contained in so much beauty, that you can hardly make yourself walk away.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I loved this novel, each chapter exploring the life of a different woman photographer. Inspired by actual photographers but reimagined by this talented author. The stories take place at different times, with some overlap (late 1900's, 1920's, '30s, '50's, 1980's, so that some characters actually meet, while others discover earlier photographer's work while pursuing their own. Some fabulous references here that I'd never heard of: Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, Bomarzo Garden of Monsters. I loved this novel, each chapter exploring the life of a different woman photographer. Inspired by actual photographers but reimagined by this talented author. The stories take place at different times, with some overlap (late 1900's, 1920's, '30s, '50's, 1980's, so that some characters actually meet, while others discover earlier photographer's work while pursuing their own. Some fabulous references here that I'd never heard of: Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, Bomarzo Garden of Monsters. The women in this novel explore their art while fighting convention in order to live their lives authentically. Highly recommended, would be an ideal book club choice!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    I very rarely choose not to finish a book, but in the case of "Eight Girls Taking Pictures", about half way through the book I decided not to waste any more of my time on it. There just seemed to be no point - or maybe I was just missing the point. Each section of the book somewhat described the life of a different female photographer - but other than the location, they all seemed interchangeable. Additionally, I never felt any connection with any of the characters - it became almost a chore to I very rarely choose not to finish a book, but in the case of "Eight Girls Taking Pictures", about half way through the book I decided not to waste any more of my time on it. There just seemed to be no point - or maybe I was just missing the point. Each section of the book somewhat described the life of a different female photographer - but other than the location, they all seemed interchangeable. Additionally, I never felt any connection with any of the characters - it became almost a chore to read. I was disappointed, especially because I remember really enjoying "How to Make an American Quilt", also by Whitney Otto.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    "Eight Girls Taking Pictures: A Novel" is none of the things you might expect from the title. Rather than a novel, it's actually a collection of eight short stories, some novella length. And while there are eight stories about women photographers, at least one of those stories features two women, so I count at least nine girls taking pictures. That nitpicking aside, it's a wonderful book. Author Whitney Otto explores the ways women's lives and opportunities changed and the ways they stayed the sa "Eight Girls Taking Pictures: A Novel" is none of the things you might expect from the title. Rather than a novel, it's actually a collection of eight short stories, some novella length. And while there are eight stories about women photographers, at least one of those stories features two women, so I count at least nine girls taking pictures. That nitpicking aside, it's a wonderful book. Author Whitney Otto explores the ways women's lives and opportunities changed and the ways they stayed the same over the course of the 20th Century by staggering her stories across many decades. Some of these women marry and happily subordinate their careers to their husbands, some marry and resent men for shining bright while they raise kids maintain the home, some prefer to love other women, some opt never to tie themselves down or to pursue many loves. I found it enlightening to read about ways that women could live independently as artists a full century ago, and the ways women in more recent times have faced old challenges that still abide. That's not to say this book is preachy or overtly political. Each character is a woman and a photographer, and creative women's lives by necessity are shaped by their relationships and their place in society. But these conflicts are not at the heart of every story. These women are concerned with advancing photographic technology; with finding new ways to tell stories with pictures; with building their businesses -- as studio artists, or advertisers, or magazine contributors; with traveling and exploring the world; with staying close to homes they love; with surviving in a changing political world that affects other aspects of their identities (one story involves a Jewish bisexual in Germany during Hitler's rise). Some women stay put, others travel extensively. San Francisco, Berlin and London serve as prominent settings, visited time and time again across the decades and through the stories. And while I say that "Eight Girls Taking Pictures" is not a novel, in the last few stories it takes on some subtle novelistic tones as we watch later photographers react to the work of their predecessors, or even meet those predecessors at certain points. The effect of this book is cumulative. The more I read the more I wanted to keep on reading. So much of what's targeted at women is light and fluffy that even though I'd heard of Otto's earlier bestseller, "How to Make an American Quilt," I'd always dismissed it as part of a weak genre that is not for me. Now that I've been moved and intellectually stimulated by this author's latest effort, I feel compelled to examine that assumption, and to ask myself what other women's work I've dismissed by letting the worst writing for and about women color my approach to other worthy work.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ab

    This book had lots of potential, I thought ... photography through the ages, across the world, through the female artist's eye ... and it did all this, sure, but really every woman's story was how her life was affected/changed/thwarted/overpowered/distracted/overshadowed, etc. by romantic entanglements with men. Men men men. Men were the photographers, women assisted, or modeled. Men worked, women photographers ultimately resigned themselves to marriage, kids, and "hobby" photography, maybe. So This book had lots of potential, I thought ... photography through the ages, across the world, through the female artist's eye ... and it did all this, sure, but really every woman's story was how her life was affected/changed/thwarted/overpowered/distracted/overshadowed, etc. by romantic entanglements with men. Men men men. Men were the photographers, women assisted, or modeled. Men worked, women photographers ultimately resigned themselves to marriage, kids, and "hobby" photography, maybe. So sad. So uninteresting. Couldn't just one of the women -- ONE -- said "Ef-the M(m)an! I'm in love with my art! My photography! and I will pursue it until the ends of the earth!" I'm not saying every person did this, obviously the real life problem is how male artists have been viewed as Artists, women equal crafters or hobby-ists, but not Artists in the ways that men are. Sigh. I do, however, LOVE the cover.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I wanted to like this book so badly – both my husband and one of my best friends each saw it separately and thought of me. It was a fictional account of female photographers from 1910 through the late '80s and how their art intersected with their home lives, etc. Many of the stories took place in San Francisco. It should have been amazing and right up my alley. But I feel like it should have been called "Depressing Sex and Cameras." Seriously. Or an alternate title, "Your Life Ends When You Have I wanted to like this book so badly – both my husband and one of my best friends each saw it separately and thought of me. It was a fictional account of female photographers from 1910 through the late '80s and how their art intersected with their home lives, etc. Many of the stories took place in San Francisco. It should have been amazing and right up my alley. But I feel like it should have been called "Depressing Sex and Cameras." Seriously. Or an alternate title, "Your Life Ends When You Have Children." Or some combination of the two. It also seemed like it needed some help with editing, as the stories were very open-ended, although I think that may have been the point? I don't know...maybe I just didn't get it. Oh how I wanted to. :(

  9. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    Obligatory mention: I got my copy thru First-Reads. That said - this is one well written novel! A wonderfully thought out story that explores both the history of photography, the evolution of women’s rights and world history thru compelling stories. The topics discussed are as diverse as the women the stories follow: homosexuality, Nazi Germany, the horrors of war, marriage inequality, gossip, youth, freedom, dreams, responsibility, young love, and so much more. Of particular interest to me was ho Obligatory mention: I got my copy thru First-Reads. That said - this is one well written novel! A wonderfully thought out story that explores both the history of photography, the evolution of women’s rights and world history thru compelling stories. The topics discussed are as diverse as the women the stories follow: homosexuality, Nazi Germany, the horrors of war, marriage inequality, gossip, youth, freedom, dreams, responsibility, young love, and so much more. Of particular interest to me was how Whitney Otto managed to fully explain each type of photography and its process while keeping it a part of the story. She doesn’t just mention the type of camera that each woman uses, she goes into what makes it unique, tying that element into the way the woman in each story goes about her photography. Otto manages to weave a tale that travels thru time and connects all the women, not through their gender but through their passion in photography. Well written, educational, and compelling.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Simone Benedict

    After reading Eight Girls, I'm kicking myself for missing out on Whitney Otto's previous works. As a literary work, this novel is delightful in its construction. The joy I found in reading Eight Girls was not only through the eight separate vignettes, but also in considering the conceptual glues, of sorts, connecting them over time and their separate lives. On the one hand, all people make these sort of connections with their past memories in order to form a story of who they are. On the other, After reading Eight Girls, I'm kicking myself for missing out on Whitney Otto's previous works. As a literary work, this novel is delightful in its construction. The joy I found in reading Eight Girls was not only through the eight separate vignettes, but also in considering the conceptual glues, of sorts, connecting them over time and their separate lives. On the one hand, all people make these sort of connections with their past memories in order to form a story of who they are. On the other, women as artists encounter similar obstacles and paths over and around those as they struggle to create. Through these, Otto effectively "glues" the lives of eight female photographers into an "album", or her book titled, "Eight Girls Taking Pictures".

  11. 5 out of 5

    guiltlessreader

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Originally posted on my blog Guiltless Reading Life lived and reimagined through a woman's eyes. The book in one sentence: Live life large whether in front or behind the lens. My two cents: Amazing! This makes it as another of my favourite reads for the year. With the same appeal as Otto's How to Make an American Quilt, this is altogether bold, romantic, tender and outspoken. I loved everything about it and I could relate on so many levels, as a woman, and as someone who has always been fascin Originally posted on my blog Guiltless Reading Life lived and reimagined through a woman's eyes. The book in one sentence: Live life large whether in front or behind the lens. My two cents: Amazing! This makes it as another of my favourite reads for the year. With the same appeal as Otto's How to Make an American Quilt, this is altogether bold, romantic, tender and outspoken. I loved everything about it and I could relate on so many levels, as a woman, and as someone who has always been fascinated with photography and art in general. The novel is broken up into eight sections, each featuring a famous female photographer and her story. The obvious common thread -- photography -- is just one among the many threads that hold the individual stories together. Spanning decades (early 1990s to the present), across several continents, during various historical moments -- these themes are the stuff of our lives. I just breathed it all in! I am betting that women readers will be able to relate to one (or more) of the eight characters in some way. Women photographers are simply ordinary women who face the issues all women do: the men (or women) who we love, fulfilling the roles expected of women (or breaking out of them), feeling comfortable in one's sexuality, children (or none at all), of wanting to carve out one's one path personally and career-wise. What makes a woman happy? What makes you happy? What sets these eight women apart is their vision (and tempestuousness) to continue with their craft -- and do so with great courage and passion -- despite (or inspite) of the many hurdles. They all managed to make their mark in photography in rather profound ways. Each vignette opens with a photograph which figures in the story somehow (and which I tended to flip back and forth to try and see the image through that particular photographer's eyes). The first photographer's story opens with the photo of an unmade bed with some hairpins. Note that all these photos are apparently taken by real women photographers, and then the characters' lives are reimagined by the author based on that photo. How creative and what a wonderful way to draw readers in! Of course I want to find out who Cymbeline is, who this "woman in love" is! Of course I want to know the story behind that unmade bed. Like we always say, a picture is worth a thousand words ... in this case, the words follow. Each has made their own distinctive mark in the world of photography -- with some extremely fascinating points woven into the narratives. There are references to photography styles and influences, lenses and cameras and details that will satisfy the photography buff. And since this draws from the lives of women photographers, there is a list at the end of the book you can check out. The stories are interspersed and coming from a small art niche, the paths of some of these women either cross physically or professionally. This makes for the reappearance or reference to the eight main characters throughout the book (and the first time it happened, I was a little surprised!) Verdict: A beautifully written set of vignettes about the complexity of women and their photography. Highly recommended for Otto fans and photography buffs. ------ Amazing. Another favourite for the year. 8 women photographers, and a common thread to hold these stories altogether. Bold, romantic, tender. I loved everything about it. Full review coming soon!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Stickann

    I won this delightful read on Goodreads First Read. Thank you to the author and publisher for sending it to me. I try to give all books I review a fair and impartial read. Full of wonderful quotes like the ones below, this book delights the reader throughout. "No one really survived the Great War. No person, no place. It was too far-reaching , too catastrophic, too unimaginable." pg. 64 " . . . but the small American towns lagged years behind. In some of those towns it wasn't 1967, it was 1957 and I won this delightful read on Goodreads First Read. Thank you to the author and publisher for sending it to me. I try to give all books I review a fair and impartial read. Full of wonderful quotes like the ones below, this book delights the reader throughout. "No one really survived the Great War. No person, no place. It was too far-reaching , too catastrophic, too unimaginable." pg. 64 " . . . but the small American towns lagged years behind. In some of those towns it wasn't 1967, it was 1957 and all that went with that. Girls still wanted to be cheerleaders to the boys who wanted to be football heroes." pg. 302 "Everything that moves me, or captivates me, can often be found in the space where things go wrong, or fall short." pg. 305 "Youth and love," Jenny said, "are not gasoline and matches." pg. 310 "Eight Girls Taking Pictures," by Whitney Otto is a captivating read. It felt like a light read, but as I finished I realized how much it had delighted my senses. The book is written like a collection of short stories that somehow seem to fall together. I think this is a bit upsetting for some readers. The eight girls are roughly based on real female photographers and two of them seemed to have been made up. The book tells their stories as women, lovers, and mothers. I found it hard to have some based on real people and others not. Since the book was about women photographers I would have liked to have seen more of their photos. It certainly would have enriched their stories. Looking beyond those issues of whom the stories were about the book was very satisfying to this reader. The book club notes, author's interview and bibliography at the end were useful tools to satisfy the curiosity of this reader to know a bit more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jude

    I wanted to love this book. I tried to love this book. I didn't even finish reading this book. I gave up about 2/3rds of the way through it. I love historical fiction, and I love photography, so I thought this would be a great read for me... but it was hard to truly understand the characters, and get to the point where I wanted to know more about them. I felt like I was reading articles in a magazine, or a long book report on a biography. I have given myself permission to stop reading any book I I wanted to love this book. I tried to love this book. I didn't even finish reading this book. I gave up about 2/3rds of the way through it. I love historical fiction, and I love photography, so I thought this would be a great read for me... but it was hard to truly understand the characters, and get to the point where I wanted to know more about them. I felt like I was reading articles in a magazine, or a long book report on a biography. I have given myself permission to stop reading any book I can put down for over a week and not even desire to skip dish washing to finish. Such was the case for this book... I have the clean dishes to prove it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    3 1/2 I'll have more thoughts later (probably in a blog post) but this is the sort of book that in addition to making one think about feminism, the role of women, the relationship between women and art, and art in general, is the sort that makes me want to buy a beautiful old camera and build a dark room in which to develop and create photos of my own. EDIT: And...posted! 3 1/2 I'll have more thoughts later (probably in a blog post) but this is the sort of book that in addition to making one think about feminism, the role of women, the relationship between women and art, and art in general, is the sort that makes me want to buy a beautiful old camera and build a dark room in which to develop and create photos of my own. EDIT: And...posted!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diva Dina

    I enjoyed this book, but some of the stories seemed rushed & misplaced. I also thought that more of the stories were going to intertwine. It only seems like Cymbeline Kelly was a recurring character. One of the stories that I loved left me with so many unanswered questions. I wasn't sure what happened next. Overall it was good, but not the best that I've read. I enjoyed this book, but some of the stories seemed rushed & misplaced. I also thought that more of the stories were going to intertwine. It only seems like Cymbeline Kelly was a recurring character. One of the stories that I loved left me with so many unanswered questions. I wasn't sure what happened next. Overall it was good, but not the best that I've read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jan Priddy

    I have tried three times to read this book and I cannot. There are the sentences that no verb. There are historical details. There is the reason I want to love it because it is about early photographers. Other readers must love it. I only wish I could.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    This review contains some minor spoilers. I admit that I only made it to page 113 of this book before giving up. I really really tried to love this book...it's been on my TBR list for ages (since before it was first released) and I finally wound up purchasing a copy recently. I went into this book thinking (based on the synopsis on the back cover) that I would be reading a story/stories about female photographers and all the trials and tribulations they face in life as they pursue(d) their passi This review contains some minor spoilers. I admit that I only made it to page 113 of this book before giving up. I really really tried to love this book...it's been on my TBR list for ages (since before it was first released) and I finally wound up purchasing a copy recently. I went into this book thinking (based on the synopsis on the back cover) that I would be reading a story/stories about female photographers and all the trials and tribulations they face in life as they pursue(d) their passion and art. That is NOT what this book is about...at least not the first three chapters. I read the first chapter and let me say...*SPOILER*....it ends rather depressingly. Not only does the photographer seemingly give up her craft but she ...*SPOILER*...appears to make friends with a woman who burned down her photography studio/house as well as give up her passions to listen to her jerk of a husband who spends the majority of his time away for months at a time following his passion...painting...So, I tried to move on to the second story but it ended just as sad and depressing as the first....by the time I reached the end of the third story I was ready to scream. All I got from the stories were messages about these seemingly strong females who pursued a passion for photography and then ended up getting involved with a guy who (for whatever reason/reasons) causes the main character(s) to give up her passion. This was not hopeful, or uplifting, or inspiring in any way. Just to be clear, I am all for a story about hard life. I understand not every book ends happily. But when the book is promoted as a story about thriving through life's trials as a female photographer ...I expect a story where the main character comes out on top in the end...not the complete opposite. Perhaps all the stories come to a final (happier) conclusion in the last chapter...but based on reading the other reviews I doubt that would redeem the first few terrible chapters.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    If you are a Whitney Otto fan, I would recommend this, with the tip to just read it, don't read the reviews, don't get a preconceived notion of what the book is about, just read it because you enjoy her writing. With that said, here's my review... For me, I felt this book, at least the first five (of eight) short stories was more about sexuality than photography; the girls were all described as androgynous. There was more focus on their affairs and sexual relationships and lack of "normal" sexual If you are a Whitney Otto fan, I would recommend this, with the tip to just read it, don't read the reviews, don't get a preconceived notion of what the book is about, just read it because you enjoy her writing. With that said, here's my review... For me, I felt this book, at least the first five (of eight) short stories was more about sexuality than photography; the girls were all described as androgynous. There was more focus on their affairs and sexual relationships and lack of "normal" sexual restraints, than on their photography skills and achievements. Some of the "girls" end up finding/marrying men who said they wanted her as she was, until they didn't; I found the only one who stayed true to that was in the final story. Several of the stories were very politically charged, WWI and WWII, Jewish and Nazi, Mexican revolutionary, Communist. There is a randomness to the stories, long drawn descriptions, talking of one thing to quickly change to another. I often found myself wondering where an idea came from or where it was suppose to fit in. There is also a randomness of the stories as a collection; the first five stories and the last three stories have a very different feel. The first five are centered more in time and the last three gets us through quite a few decades. The attempt to connect the stories by Cymbeline showing up in some way in all of them was interesting and help me get through the book in the end.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    Liked it but... I read a review someone wrote where they said though the stories were good, she was unable to care about the characters. My experience was the same in that I didn't feel much for any of the women. It was a strange read because I did find the stories interesting, well written- but I didn't like them or feel they were alive. I can't really express my tangled feelings about this novel- it really is a weird feeling. The key moments in history and the effects they had on each woman mo Liked it but... I read a review someone wrote where they said though the stories were good, she was unable to care about the characters. My experience was the same in that I didn't feel much for any of the women. It was a strange read because I did find the stories interesting, well written- but I didn't like them or feel they were alive. I can't really express my tangled feelings about this novel- it really is a weird feeling. The key moments in history and the effects they had on each woman moved me, they were spot on. But with my disconnect in relation to the characters it reminded me of the feeling I got from characters in early fiction I once read from my grandmother's library. The story could be great but the female characters were unnatural, too good, too calm? But that's not quite right either because Otto's women are alive and strong. I can't even express what I felt. Would I say read this? Yes, because it is good. But there is something I just can't pin down that left me feeling strange. Maybe I need to digest my feelings on it a little more... But it is a good book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Desirae

    It's not so much that I couldn't get into this, I just couldn't stand how boring it was. the only reason I picked this one up was because it described a woman named Cymbeline (The Shakespeare play of the same name is one of my personal favorites.) But I was unable to connect with any of the characters and their actions and motivations didn't make sense. It felt too much like woman abandoning their selfhood for the men in their lives, and also just behaving stupidly (view spoiler)[the maid attempt It's not so much that I couldn't get into this, I just couldn't stand how boring it was. the only reason I picked this one up was because it described a woman named Cymbeline (The Shakespeare play of the same name is one of my personal favorites.) But I was unable to connect with any of the characters and their actions and motivations didn't make sense. It felt too much like woman abandoning their selfhood for the men in their lives, and also just behaving stupidly (view spoiler)[the maid attempts to burn the house down more than once, yet you keep her??? And then she finally succeeds and your like "whatever!" (hide spoiler)] I also thought the short story format to create the " eight women taking pictures" just didn't work here. It was confusing - all of the women acted and sounded alike.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I was irritated by this book. Too much research, not enough character development. And the women all seemed to have a father fetish.. there was a sameness to them, no matter what time period they lived in. I finally gave up halfway through. In contrast, I would highly recommend MOMENTS CAPTURED by Robert Seidman or SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER by Timothy Egan. The first is roughly based on the life of Edward Muybridge and the second tells the story of Edward Curtis, the remarkable, turn of I was irritated by this book. Too much research, not enough character development. And the women all seemed to have a father fetish.. there was a sameness to them, no matter what time period they lived in. I finally gave up halfway through. In contrast, I would highly recommend MOMENTS CAPTURED by Robert Seidman or SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER by Timothy Egan. The first is roughly based on the life of Edward Muybridge and the second tells the story of Edward Curtis, the remarkable, turn of the century photographer who set out to capture the lives of every North American Indian tribe before their lives and customs were lost to history.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Conklin

    I loved this book for very personal reasons, my father was a photographer and owned a photo business, my brother, a photographers gave it to me, I am a photographer and I own a cheaper version of the camera on the cover. Besides that, I loved the premise of taking 8 girls and connecting them each with a camera and with the first girl, a fictitious professional photographer of the early part of the 20th century. There is a thread there, but each story could stand on its own, eight short stories l I loved this book for very personal reasons, my father was a photographer and owned a photo business, my brother, a photographers gave it to me, I am a photographer and I own a cheaper version of the camera on the cover. Besides that, I loved the premise of taking 8 girls and connecting them each with a camera and with the first girl, a fictitious professional photographer of the early part of the 20th century. There is a thread there, but each story could stand on its own, eight short stories like 8 snapshots. I am rereading this one, I want to go back and follow the thread again, absorb more of the details, like going through pages of a photo album.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate Gardiner

    Am in love with this book! All of my female photography friends will connect with a lot of the experiences the women go through. But I think male photographers will appreciate the photo history. This is definitely a book that should be judged by its cover. Great artwork! The only thing keeping me from giving it 5 stars is the fact that it is 8 separate stories that get referred back to. Had a hard time keeping everyone straight and had to keep flipping back. Could just be the fact I can only sta Am in love with this book! All of my female photography friends will connect with a lot of the experiences the women go through. But I think male photographers will appreciate the photo history. This is definitely a book that should be judged by its cover. Great artwork! The only thing keeping me from giving it 5 stars is the fact that it is 8 separate stories that get referred back to. Had a hard time keeping everyone straight and had to keep flipping back. Could just be the fact I can only stay awake at night for 2-3 pages at a time. Recommend taking notes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ayre

    I enjoyed the book and the richness of the characters; the female characters have wonderfully independent minds. Yet the book didn't captivate me. I read it consistently, but only in small doses so it took me a long time to finish. The experience of the reading the book was one of reading the autobiographies of female photographers, which I loved, but the stories didn't have the color, sound and smell that pulls a reader into a character's life. I would recommend it, however, to all female 19-25 I enjoyed the book and the richness of the characters; the female characters have wonderfully independent minds. Yet the book didn't captivate me. I read it consistently, but only in small doses so it took me a long time to finish. The experience of the reading the book was one of reading the autobiographies of female photographers, which I loved, but the stories didn't have the color, sound and smell that pulls a reader into a character's life. I would recommend it, however, to all female 19-25 year olds or anyone who needs a refresher about how strong and uniquely powerful women can be.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Edith

    Won this book on a goodreads giveaway. And I knew I would loved it. It's a collection of stories about female photographers. I loved the subtle links between them. Major theme of the stories is the conflict between motherhood and having a career, the need to create. It's inevitable with that type of book, some stories were better than others. Some stories were fictional history of real women photographers (names were changed). It sparked my interest to learn more about those women. Won this book on a goodreads giveaway. And I knew I would loved it. It's a collection of stories about female photographers. I loved the subtle links between them. Major theme of the stories is the conflict between motherhood and having a career, the need to create. It's inevitable with that type of book, some stories were better than others. Some stories were fictional history of real women photographers (names were changed). It sparked my interest to learn more about those women.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I wanted to love this book but the writing is so dull I couldn't drag myself through it. Totally agree with another reviewer below, I love historical fiction but these vignettes I was able to get through are so similar and each filled with unimaginative fictional details. I appreciate knowing about all these early women photographers and I look forward to checking out a library to see if there might be some out of print books about them. Something to remember is that there were a lot of wonderfu I wanted to love this book but the writing is so dull I couldn't drag myself through it. Totally agree with another reviewer below, I love historical fiction but these vignettes I was able to get through are so similar and each filled with unimaginative fictional details. I appreciate knowing about all these early women photographers and I look forward to checking out a library to see if there might be some out of print books about them. Something to remember is that there were a lot of wonderfully written and well researched books written in the 70's about women's history and a great number of these are no longer in print. Unlikely you'll find them digitized either.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This was a real slog. The writing was stilted and weird; occasionally it was styled more like an article about a person rather than a story (like randomly quoting them about something—that’s not really how fiction works, dude). Also it was just plain boring at times. I liked the camera and photography stuff. I liked the few musings on motherhood vs creativity/career. Like many others I could not keep these girls/names straight for the life of me. Also, it occurred to me these were all depicted a This was a real slog. The writing was stilted and weird; occasionally it was styled more like an article about a person rather than a story (like randomly quoting them about something—that’s not really how fiction works, dude). Also it was just plain boring at times. I liked the camera and photography stuff. I liked the few musings on motherhood vs creativity/career. Like many others I could not keep these girls/names straight for the life of me. Also, it occurred to me these were all depicted as Manic Pixie Dream Girls, or whatever historical version you’d call them. It definitely made me want to study up on the real women behind the stories though, so I suppose that’s a win.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sue Grise

    I really enjoyed parts of this book and found others tedious. The first woman and the last three or four were fascinating, but a few in the middle seemed almost interchangeable. I loved the precise historical details of their milieus and the historical photos that introduced each section. I also appreciated that the characters thought like women of their time and not like modern women pasted into an interesting period set. However, I wanted more detail about the art of photography (both philosop I really enjoyed parts of this book and found others tedious. The first woman and the last three or four were fascinating, but a few in the middle seemed almost interchangeable. I loved the precise historical details of their milieus and the historical photos that introduced each section. I also appreciated that the characters thought like women of their time and not like modern women pasted into an interesting period set. However, I wanted more detail about the art of photography (both philosophical and logistic) and less about their sexual proclivities (the sex is pervasive but not graphic). Feminism is an overarching theme. In places it's finely nuanced (like the character who takes daily photos from the window of her city apartment as she raises her children), but often it's overbearing. For example, there's a common assumption that feminism=promiscuity, and almost all the male characters are totally dislikeable. For me, this isn't a feminism of self-respect but a kind of distasteful reverse misogyny.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    I love reading books about photographers. This is not one of those. More fairly classified as historical essays(though written very much as fiction) than really concentrating on the photographic arts. Somewhat interesting to hear about life back in the day, but very hard to get through as it just drones on and on without letting the reader really know where it is going. None of the 8 separate stories, or at least the ones I suffered through, had any sense of a beginning, middle or end. I don't g I love reading books about photographers. This is not one of those. More fairly classified as historical essays(though written very much as fiction) than really concentrating on the photographic arts. Somewhat interesting to hear about life back in the day, but very hard to get through as it just drones on and on without letting the reader really know where it is going. None of the 8 separate stories, or at least the ones I suffered through, had any sense of a beginning, middle or end. I don't give up on many books, but life is too short for this one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leah McLaren

    I read this after seeing it laying around at my friend's house and though I'm not a professional or knowledgeable of the mechanics of true photography like she is, I did enjoy this book quite a bit. It is a work of fiction based off of eight prominent female photographers during pre and post world war II. I felt Otto did a fantastic job displaying these women and engaging readers who might not have any personal interest in photography themselves but gives them a look into the lives of someone wh I read this after seeing it laying around at my friend's house and though I'm not a professional or knowledgeable of the mechanics of true photography like she is, I did enjoy this book quite a bit. It is a work of fiction based off of eight prominent female photographers during pre and post world war II. I felt Otto did a fantastic job displaying these women and engaging readers who might not have any personal interest in photography themselves but gives them a look into the lives of someone who's very passionate about the art form.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.